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Even though it’s becoming more and more common for people to speak openly about mental health (phew!), it can still feel hard to know where to exactly to go for help.
A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that more than 80 percent of people will develop at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their lives — and among adolescent girls ages 15 to 19, suicide is the number one cause of death (according to a 2014 report by the World Health Organization). That is a staggering statistic.
If mental illness is so common, seeking mental health care should be encouraged rather than stigmatized.
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Riverdale star and mental health advocate Lili Reinhart said it best in a recent interview with Teen Vogue:
People need to treat mental health like physical health. If you have a broken bone, you go to the doctor. If you have depression, people just say, ‘Everyone’s depressed, right?’ A lot of people don’t do anything about it and that to me is sad.
Taking care of your mental health can feel intimidating, but here are four easy places you can start (without having to leave the house):
If seeing a therapist is too intimidating or pricey, consider texting with one instead. Talkspace offers unlimited messaging with a licensed therapist for as little as $32 per week.
Beyond cost, one of the perks of using the app is being matched with a therapist based on your mental health issues, rather than seeking one out on your own. For example, Erin Brodwin at Business Insider was matched with a therapist who specialized in panic attacks, and she found the service to be really helpful and intuitive.
Sad Girls Club
With an endless supply of “perfect” images, social media could easily be a place that triggers feelings of jealousy, insecurity, and loneliness. In contrast, the Instagram account @sadgirlsclubpbg attempts to foster an online community and discussion where young women battling mental illness can support each other.
“I wanted to develop resources for girls that would have helped me when I was younger,” Elyse Fox, founder of Sad Girls Club, told Healthline in August. “For many women, especially women of color, connecting with a friend or mentor who looks similar to you, talks openly, and encourages you to speak up invites vulnerability and promotes openness.”
When you’re grinding away at work, it’s easy to lose track of your needs. That’s where Aloe Bud comes in. Currently, it’s a Twitter bot that tweets out gentle self-care reminders, such as, “Have you had anything to drink in the last two hours? It’s easy to forget, so don’t be upset if you do!”
Amber Discko, Aloe Bud’s creator (and a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer), is also building her check-in tool as an app, funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. In an interview with CNBC, she explained the importance of self-care for young people:
“It’s very common, especially with millennials, to overwork yourself when you’re super passionate about a cause,” Discko told CNBC. “We are so driven to do our best that we let other things slide by.”
If Talkspace is out of your budget, you might want to opt for free peer counseling on iPrevail. The first step on the platform is taking an online health assessment, which then provides a tailored program based on cognitive behavioral therapy and allows you to chat online with trained peer specialists.
Prior to answering the online survey, psychotherapist Maria Bruce advises: “Prepare a list of symptoms, like how you are feeling, if you’re having sleeping or concentration problems.”
Oftentimes, depression or other mental health disorders may require in-person or professional care. But using some of these resources online first can help you move in the right direction — and give you more information about where to go next. Thank you, technology.
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